H4-EAD rule may take more time to get published

Image via USCIS.gov

USCIS may perform further analysis or consider some revisions to the proposals on revoking H4-EAD.

The H4 work authorization has remained in a wait-and-watch state for the tens of thousands who hold the work permit. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review held a review meeting on May 1, but so far there has not been any official update on the fate of H4-EAD.

Many experts say that the OMB may take some more time and explanation before rescinding the Obama-era rule. “Unfortunately we are also not sure when we will hear from OMB,” said Dhara Puvar, Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI).

She added that there might be some delay before a decision is made on the fate of the work permit.

“The timeline for publication of the proposal to eliminate the H-4 EAD remains uncertain, but we’ve moved from ‘any day now’ to expecting it to be delayed,” Puvar said. “It is our understanding that OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has decided that USCIS needs further work on the proposal before OIRA will clear the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to end the H-4 EAD. This could mean that USCIS will perform further analysis or consider some revisions to the proposal.”

Puvar said because of the “recent leadership changes throughout DHS might mean that the rule would take an even longer time getting published.”

Asked whether this would mean that the next update may take months, she said, “Some rules that USCIS has been asked by OIRA to do further work on can be very complex and take months. We do not expect that to be the case here.”

Amy Bhatt, an Associate Professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who worked with activists as they prepared for meetings with DHS and OMB, said she was asked to participate as an issue expert and was able to share the preliminary results of her report and SAAPRI’s report.

“One of the strongest findings that came out of it was that H-4 EADs are not necessarily competing with U.S. tech workers for jobs,” she said. “Instead, they are working across a variety of fields that are also facing labor shortages, such as health care, education, and the sciences.”

Bhatt adds, “Of course, having authorization to work does not translate into a job itself–rather, it offers immigrant women an opportunity to simply compete for a position. Many still face barriers because they have been out of the workforce for a long period of time, or their experience abroad may not be as valued. For that reason, many H-4 visa holders have sought out additional training or certification opportunities, or have been volunteering to sharpen their skills. They are far from being “back-door immigrants,” but are already present, educated, and skilled potential workers.”

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